It’s so lovely to be sharing the super beautiful wedding of Alex and Bex today, who are about to celebrate their first wedding anniversary on the 27th May. They chose the bank holiday weekend to ensure their guests had that little bit of extra recovery time from the travelling and the fun festivities of their celebrations. The weather certainly played ball as you’ll see from the sensational images by Photography34, I especially adore those sunset portraits, so magical! Thanks for sharing them with us Tony.
Being blessed with sunshine meant that their outdoor tipi wedding reception was a roaring success, with guests relaxing on hay bales and playing games on the field. The setting was on a field, which Alex’s parents have at the back of their home. The views were incredible, so it was a no brainer when it came to finding the perfect location in the gorgeous Hampshire countryside. I really love the subtle pops of yellow throughout, Bex’s bouquet is a real show stopper and complemented her beaded Jenny Packham gown so perfectly. Didn’t they both look just gorgeous? Alex’s brown tweed suit looked very dapper teamed with tan shoes burgundy tie. They decided to have a first look and walk down the aisle together, which is just the most special of moments. I also have to say the tipi lit up in the evening looked really magnificent too. Wow.
THE PROPOSAL | Edinburgh, at the top of Carlton Hill, overlooking the city’s Christmas lights. It was a snowy evening, we were alone, it was TOTALLY unexpected, and he got down on one knee :)
THE VISION | Relaxed, country vibes, fun. Alex and I wanted the day to be filled with our nearest and dearest – for this reason we chose to invite all our guests for the whole day and not have a separate evening party. We had no specific ‘theme’, we just went with things we love. But top of the agenda was for it to be fun and relaxed so we knew the tipi reception would suit us perfectly, and as Alex’s parents have a field with gorgeous views at the back of their home, it was a viable option for us.
THE PLANNING PROCESS | Stressful! I don’t think we can say we enjoyed the majority of it! We chose the date as it fell on a bank holiday weekend which traditionally has decent weather, and as most of our friends and family would be travelling long distances for the wedding it was nice to feel they had an extra day to recover! The venue fitted in well as Alex had grown up in the village and wanted to be married by the vicar he had grown up with. The rest we just worked around the venues and date. We had 18 months to plan, which we definitely needed!
BUDGET | Went out of the window! Well, I say that, we were really fortunate as both our families gave us financial contribution towards our wedding so we were able to move the goal posts a bit when we realised how much weddings cost! Although the tipi reception is gorgeous and always feels unique regardless of how many weddings you’ve been to in them, we hadn’t accounted for how much electricity generators/nice portable loos/etc were. We did and had everything we’d wanted and came out the other side with only a few bills left to pay!
THE VENUE | Church ceremony, tipi reception in Saint Mary Bourne, Hampshire.
THE DRESS & ACCESSORIES | Jenny Packham dress, Rachel Simpson shoes for the ceremony which swiftly got changed to white Saltwater sandals, which I practically live in in warm weather! I wore a sapphire ring I had inherited from my grandmother as my ‘something blue’ which felt really special as she is no longer with us, I wore a string of vintage pearls around my wrist from my Mum, which she had inherited from her mum, as my ‘something old and something borrowed’. (My dress was my ‘something new’!) In my hair I just had gypsophila flowers.
GROOM’S ATTIRE | Alex’s suit and groomsmen’s suits were from Jennis & Warmann, London. His shoes were Debenhams, Shirt was T.M.Lewin, tie and pocket square were Moss Bros. His tie clip was bought online and his cuff links were a wedding gift to him from his parents.
THE READINGS & MUSIC | Music is soooooooo important as it really sets a theme for your day. Walking in to church I had decided I didn’t want to be traditionally ‘given away’ so Alex and I met outside the Church and walked in down the aisle together. We wanted something instrumental and contemporary but finding something at the right tempo was so difficult. We stumbled across Ce Matin La by Air, which was perfect for us, we loved how it is light and summery but had a bit of an exciting build to the song. We sang two hymns with our congregation in Church, Jerusalam and Lord of all Hopefulness. While we signed the register Bex’s brother and brother in law did a few acoustic songs for us; they play together in a 50’s/60’s band (Eddie & the Earthquakes) so the music fit in really well and so many of our congregation said it was a highlight for them. We walked out from Church to Gimme some loving from the Blues Brothers soundtrack!
For readings we asked Alex’s sister to read the song lyrics from ‘If I should Fall Behind’ by Bruce Springsteen which is beautiful, and Bex’s mum read a quote from Bob Marley, which I have never seen before nor heard again and can’t find on the internet! It was obviously unique! Both were pitched perfectly as we didn’t want the readings to be too soppy!
BEAUTIFUL BRIDESMAIDS | As I chose not to be ‘given away’ I didn’t feel it was appropriate to have bridesmaids. I did have my sister Romy with me the morning of the wedding though as my sort of ‘maid-of-honour’, keeping me sane, making me eat a bacon sandwich and drink a nip of whisky! We got ready together and travelled to the Church together (chauffeured by one of Alex’s best men in our own Volvo Estate!) which was really lovely.
THE FLOWERS | The colour themes were white, green and yellow. My bridal bouquet by Flower Petal Boutique, flowers on the tables at reception all wild flowers. Alex’s mum also decorated the arches at the church gates with fresh/fake roses and foliage. Button holes were also made by Alex’s mum from some dried flowers wrapped in twine. They were perfect and saved us a packet!
THE CAKE | Alex’s mum again! She is a professional cook and has a wealth of experience decorating wedding cakes. On reflection we set her a tricky challenge with our cake as it needed to be assembled in situ (with our tipi being open to the elements and up a field!) however she did it perfectly. We had carrot, ginger and vanilla tiers, with lemon cheese frosting and fresh fruit. One of my best friends made us a black board to let people know which tier was what.
YOUR PHOTOGRAPHER | Photography 34, sourced from Instagram. What a gent and a pleasure to have with us on the day! Neither Alex or I enjoy having our picture taken, and also hated the idea of having to spend ages posing for photos on the wedding day so Tony was a perfect fit. All our guests commented how hard he worked, it seemed he never stopped taking pictures, documenting our day for us! The pictures all turned out amazing, we could not be happier with them.
THE DETAILS & DÉCOR | From start to finish we put a lot of thought into the small details. Our invitations (and later our ceremony programme) were designed by a good friend/paperwares designer Laura Knight Studio – they set the theme beautifully. Bex made 150 meters of bunting for the tipi and surrounding field, and loooads of gold origami stars to hang above our bar which Alex’s dad hand made for us out of a load of old pallets!
For Alex, the beer had to be real ale sourced locally but we were allowed to ‘name’ the beer as we chose, so we personalised those too. The tables were all named after our favourite pubs in our home town of Chester, Cheshire and to keep the ‘booze’ theme going we set table candles into old whisky bottles on our dining tables.
The place settings we kept really simple, a sprig of rosemary and a parcel label with the name on – I think they worked well. Our caterer was a hit, a local company who were not phased one bit about catering in a field with no running water!!! We had a big selection of pork pies/pickles/chutneys as appetisers as soon as we arrived at the reception, our main was meats and salads, breads and antipasti, and dessert wedding cake, fresh strawberries and lemon posset served out of jam jars. We had cheese toaties and bacon sandwiches as the sun set so I think we and all our guests felt well fed!
The day was spent playing games in the field and lounging in the sun on straw bales, and the evening was spent dancing to our fantastic wedding band ‘Decade’.
THE HONEYMOON | 3 weeks in Thailand, we travelled around 5 different locations so we got a bit of everything.
MEMORABLE MOMENTS | Meeting outside the church was the highlight. Just us two, Bex’s sister and one of Alex’s best men who had driven us, our Vicar Dodie and our photographer Tony (although in the nicest possible way I didn’t realise he was there capturing that moment!). Also everyone playing games in the field was exactly Alex’s vision, it was so sweet our 4 year old nephew playing football with all the grown men!
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES | Don’t stress the small stuff. Not everything will go 100% as you planned it. I remember the first thing I saw when I arrived at our reception was a plastic tub with beer bottles in it and thinking it was supposed to be a wheelbarrow! I doubt anyone else thought this! And we had loads of lanterns to go outside in the field when it got dark, which we forgot to put out because it got dark so late. We were also set to have fireworks at sunset but owing to some concerns by neighbours for their stud horses we weren’t able to do them which at the time was gutting for us, but I’m not sure on reflection we’d have even needed them.
If you’re happy to delegate jobs, do, people love to be involved and have some responsibility, and they take real ownership to do it well, so hand over a job if you can! Have a few friends you can call on if you really want something to happen on the day and you’ve forgotten. This was a great piece of advice to me by my friend and when we’d forgotten to organise a £1 buy in sweep stake for the length of the speeches (great little party game if you can get it organised – whoever guesses closest wins the pot of cash!) I was able to call on them 10 minutes prior to speeches to sort this for us. As bride and groom, make sure you eat – enjoy the food you’ve chosen for this day.
CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE |
Photographer | Photography34
Bride flower bouquet | The Petal Boutique
Paperwares/wedding stationery | Laura Knight Studio
Our bar was provided by a local pub | The George Inn St Mary Bourne
Tipi | Utopian Tent
How gorgeous! The food too looked so delicious, what a treat for all.
Alex and Bex, thanks ever so much for sharing your darling wedding story with us xo Lou